Communities outside New York City are benefiting from the New York City Feral Cat Initiative of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals’ expertise in taming feral kittens. Thanks to a generous grant from the Petco Foundation, the Alliance is teaching caretakers across the country how to rehabilitate feral kittens and prepare them for adoption.
On January 5, 2013, Mike Phillips and Valerie Sicignano, Community Outreach representatives for the NYC Feral Cat Initiative, presented a workshop on socializing feral kittens to an enthusiastic audience of caretakers in Chicago, hosted by the Tree House Humane Society and The Anti-Cruelty Society. Representatives from 18 different animal welfare groups came together for the first time at the workshop, which featured video footage and educational materials provided by the NYC Feral Cat Initiative. The Chicago groups working with feral cats represented among the 40 people in attendance included Almost Home Foundation, Animal Welfare League, The Anti-Cruelty Society, Community Animal Rescue Effort (C.A.R.E.), Cats Are Truly Special (C.A.T.S.), Cinderella’s Hope Cat Rescue, DuPage County Animal Care & Control, Feline Friends Chicago, Feral Fixers, Foundation for DuPage County Animal Care & Control, Hinsdale Humane Society, Humane Haven Animal Shelter, Lulu’s Locker Rescue, PAWS Chicago, Precious Pets Almost Home, Tree House Humane Society, Triple R Pets, and Triple R Rescue.
Following the workshop, Jenny Schlueter, Community Cats Program Director of the Tree House Humane Society, commented, “Some of the other Tree House attendees and I were commenting on how effective it was to include the science side of things (i.e., the role of sex and generational differences play in determining the level of socialization a feral cat may have). This is a truly fascinating subject and the more background knowledge a foster person can have, the more prepared they can be, and the better they will be able to manage their expectations of the entire socialization process.
“Seeing the process in action with the video was also really great. It is challenging to properly explain to new foster volunteers how the kittens or cats will react using a handout or even verbally, but to be able to see how the cats react and progress and the nuances involved in the process, the movements of the human, and even hearing the appropriate tone of voice, brings attendees to a whole new level of understanding. I think the workshop was excellent, and I am looking forward to putting something together so we can carry this on and help to educate more people more thoroughly and in turn help more cats and kittens!”
To learn more about upcoming NYC Feral Cat Initiative workshops, visit NYCFeralCat.org.